Almost forgotten now, a very
impressive-looking and unusual
locomotive saw action on the Welshpool
and Llanfair Railway in the 1970s.
“Monarch” (Bagnall 3024 of 1953), ex-
Bowater’s, Sittingbourne, was an
articulated locomotive, similar in appearance perhaps to a
Mallett - but running on two power bogies, Fairlie-style*.
Appearances can, of course, be deceptive. Sadly, Monarch failed
to live up to expections, and by 1978 was sidelined, in need of a
re-tube. In the 1980s it was sold, and moved to the Ffestiniog
Railway, where plans to regauge and convert to oil firing (which
probably would have overcome most of the problems) failed to
come to fruition. More recently, Monarch has returned to the
W&L, and has undergone cosmetic restoration for display
purposes. Whether there are longer-term plans for a return to
steam, I don’t know.
This trip was a day outing from Birmingham. Most of our party
rode on the train - I was itching to try out a newly acquired
135mm lens. The weather wasn’t great - grey and damp at first,
though it brightened later - and there is some motion blur/
camera shake on one or two images (which shouldn’t be
apparent on the accompanying photos). Kodachrome II wasn’t
ideal (at ASA/ISO 25) for British weather conditions...
It will be noted that the line had not fully reopened at this time
- trains reversed at the roadside loop at Sylfaen. Photography on
the notorious Golfa bank would have to wait.
*The best technical description seems to be “modified Meyer” - a derivation of
the Kitson-Meyer design
Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway
Welshpool & Llanfair - Improving the Fleet
© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011